Media critical in ending TB in the mining sector

A third of tuberculosis (TB) infections in Southern Africa are linked to mining activities and recent studies estimate that 3 to 7 percent of miners are becoming ill with TB each year (TIMS Epidemiological Study,2012).

Health Times Reporter in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

To address these challenges, media practitioners are from 11 SADC member countries converged yesterday, 27 July 2022 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for a two-days sensitisation workshop to enhance informed reporting on TB-related issues including TB in the mining sector at the invitation of the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) in partnership with SADC and the African Union Development Agency.

TB is fueled by poor working and living conditions related to the mining industry. Exposure to silica dust in the certain mining environment can lead to silicosis, a condition which is a known risk factor of the development of the TB disease.

Professor Yosua Dambisye, director general for ECSA-HC said addressing the burden of TB in the region require a multi-sectoral and multi-country approach which involves key partners and stakeholders such as journalists.

Seeing that there’s less participation of these influential stakeholders. ECSA-HC has organised this media sensitisation workshop aiming to increase meaningful engagement of journalists so that you can effectively play critical role in TB awareness raising among public and especially to key population and advocate for sustainable response to TB amongst miners, ex-miners, and peri-mining communities,” said Prof Dambisye.

In Africa, 2 460 000 TB cases were recorded in 2020 with a 56 percent TB treatment coverage and 22 percent mortality ratio (WHO,2020).

TB remains one of the world’s greatest killers with 9 countries in Southern Africa being among the top 30 high-burden countries.

Dr Charles Sandy, senior programme officer for TB and Communicable Diseases at NEPAD challenged journalists to be champions of disseminating correct information about TB and create demand for the services.

“What are we doing as journalists in our respective countries to make sure that people are being diagnosed for TB? What are the gaps that we need to talk about around TB? And what are we doing to make sure that everyone who needs TB services are accessing them,” reiterated Dr Sandy.

Journalists represented from DRC, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Kingdom of Eswatini and Botswana.

 

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